PHDA 04 - Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection
"The courses that provided me the greatest benefit included the Population Health and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection.Using the GIS and SAS skills that I learned from the PHDA program, I was able to create a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) layer using GIS software, which showed peak greenness for the entire country over a ten-year period. Using this data and other administrative databases a team of researchers led by Dr. Dan Crouse and myself, conducted a research study that looked at how living by residential greenspace can impact longevity."
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Adele Balram, Data Analyst, New Brunswick Institute for Research and Data Training
Next course delivery: January to April 2020
This course is now available to individuals residing outside of Canada. Please contact Program Coordinator, Nancy Aubut at email@example.com or 250-721-8779 for more information.
This course provides an introduction to methods in spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection. The focus is on application rather than theory: this is not a course in spatial statistics.
The course is structured sequentially to move from spatial exploration of health data, to quantifying spatial patterns and clusters, to spatial exposure assessment and, finally, to methods for assessing risk.
Broadly, the spatial epidemiology part of the course focuses on:
- assessing exposures through the use of a geographical information system (GIS)
- conducting small area health studies (ecological models)
- incorporating spatial parameters into models for individual health analyses.
The outbreak detection part of the course focuses on visualization of spatial data, disease surveillance and the use of spatial scan statistics in cluster detection.
- Recognize when—and why—a spatial approach is required and the assumptions, strengths, limitations, and interpretations of different spatial methods used in health research.
- Identify geospatial technologies and methods for epidemiology and cluster detection.
- Choose an appropriate study design to address a specific spatial epidemiological question.
- Visualize patterns of health and disease in place and time.
- Analyze clusters and diffusion of disease to identify outbreaks.
- Conduct small area and individual spatial epidemiology studies.
- Critically interpret spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection methods.
- Apply spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection methods to various population health research questions.
- Admission to the PSC in Population Health Data Analysis or permission of the Faculty Advisor or Instructor.
- Epidemiological Statistics (PHDA02) and Population Health and Geographic Information Systems (PHDA03) or proven proficiency in both areas.
- Some experience working with ArcGIS is a requirement for this course.
- Working knowledge of how to interpret p-values, null hypothesis and confidence intervals and some experience with SAS, Excel, linear regression models and natural logarithms including exponentiation using a calculator or the “exp” function in Excel.
- Working knowledge of epidemiological terminology, including: standardized rates, risk ratios, odds ratios, incidence, prevalence.
- A solid grasp of high school math skills, including the ability to use logarithms capably and to work competently with percentages and ratios.
Instructor: Anders Erickson
Anders Erickson obtained his PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, an epidemiology focused program with the Division of Medical Sciences and the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria, and his MSc in Community Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). His research interests are varied, but predominantly focus on the spatial and environmental epidemiology of non-communicable diseases and the social determinants of health. His PhD dissertation used small area spatial and multilevel analyses to model the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight and gestational diabetes relating to air pollution exposure and its possible interaction with social and behavioural factors. Anders is currently a post-doctoral research and teaching fellow with the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
This course is offered in partnership with the Division of Continuing Studies and Department of Geography at the University of Victoria.